Happy Birthday One Two Five

In these modern times, would you care to nominate any movie star who’s career is likely to last 75 years? Probably not? And lets face it, even if they did, the chances of them making 1 silent movie, let alone hundreds in that career, very unlikely!

But did you know, there was one movie star who did both, and managed to live within 8 months of reaching her century? Well, some readers might, but I suspect, not many. But yes, that amazing lady was Lillian Gish, who would have been 125 today, had she still been living, and she did her best to do so!

Of course, a lot of those silent movies are now lost to time, a lot of that down to films being made on nitrate film back then, which was a highly volatile material, to put it mildly. Indeed a lot of the lost films relate to fires created by these films being burnt to shreds. Thankfully, a number of her films do survive, unlike poor Theda Bara for example, who has 2 extant films from the numerous ones she made.

The thing is, back in the 1910’s (yes, a century ago), she was one of the biggest stars of the time. And she stayed that way until the dreaded introduction of sound to the movies. Though whether it was a lack of interest, or a lack of something else (her voice seemed fine in later life), she didnt make many talkies back then, before her retirement. Well, partial retirement, because as stated, she didnt actually make her last movie until 1987, at the grand old age of 94!

No, no one really knows why she never married in her life, though she did say she was married to her movies. But apart from one fling, and another reputed earlier affair, she never seems to have shown interest in romance. Was it that her preference was frowned upon back then, or was she really just totally asexual, who knows?

But yes, on this day in 1893, one of the great movie legends entered the world, and it took until 1993 before she left it again! So happy heavenly birthday, Miss Gish!

OK, video time. Well, this guy is still with us, though only (only!) 79 at this time. I know, the number is 109 out, but what can a woman do?

A tribute to a legend

Yes, you’re getting a bonus, extra blog this weekend, due to the fact that today would have been Lillian Gish’s 123rd Birthday, if anyone actually lived that long! She actually managed to live within 8 months of her 100th Birthday, but thats beside the point. Its pretty fair to say that she is one of the absolute legends of the silent movie era, though it actually needs to be pointed out that her final movie role was actually 75 years after her first, in 1987, at the age of 93!

In a sense, you could say she lives on today, though not strictly true, as someone delightfully provides postings for her, on Twitter, under the handle of @MsLillianGish which I’m sure isnt really her, but who knows, it might be her ghost lol? Regardless, the person posting for her does it in the most wonderful way, and I’m sure she’d approve! Not sure that Marion Davies would approve of her teasing of her, or maybe she would?

Its fair to assume that nowadays no one is going to have a movie career that lasts 75 years! Even when not making movies, she worked in the theater, never seemed to stop. She never married, it has to be said, probably because she could never find the time to stop, to fit it in. I suppose it is possible that her preferences couldnt be solved by marriage back then, but in truth, if that was the case, surely by now, someone would have said something about the dear old lady, and no one ever did!

Until this time last year, I dont think I’d seen her in a major role, but then in an amazing twist of fate, while I was in Hollywood, TCM decided to show one of her famous movies, The Wind, on an afternoon/evening (might have been her birthday, not sure?), and I wasnt going to miss that for the world. Yes, she truly was an amazing actress, and if you get the chance to see this, or any of her other major roles, take it!

So I’ll close by saying, Happy Birthday, Miss Gish, wherever you may be. And if that really is you on Twitter, then you already knew!

The video, I did think of a film clip, but in truth, if you want to do that, just go on You Tube, and find one. However, in 1991, shortly before her death, The Smashing Pumpkins released their debut album, and called it Gish, as a tribute to her. This is a live version of an apt song from that album

If I could turn back time

I suppose one of the more interesting (in a sense) events that have come out of the internet era, are some of the crazy theories doing the rounds.

And no, I dont mean things like whether we actually went to the moon, or not (we did), I mean things dating far further back than that. There are several videos on You Tube (find them for yourself, if you care), which supposedly show modern gadgets being used in the late 1920’s, and claiming this as proof of time travel. Fine, it has to be said that I’ve seen pictures of Clara Bow, and Louise Brooks with something in their hand that really does look like a modern mobile phone, but I assume is just a compact, or makeup mirror? I mean, the biggest issue, even if they were time travelling back then, is how they got these devices to work in 1929? I mean, yes, there were dozens of cell phone transmitters back then, not!

All the same, I admit it, yesterday I wrote a story that played very much to that theory, telling the tale of how they ‘supposedly’ got their pieces of modern technology. Yes, folks, pure fiction! I know, I know, the pictures suggest maybe, but seriously…?

Mind, having said that, if Twitter is anything to go by, a good number of silent era, and 30’s movies stars are time travelling, and using Twitter as social media. I know, I have a Harlean Carpenter (Jean Harlow) account on Facebook, but I use it as much to have Jean as a time hopping character, as much as for just focusing on her short life. Oh, and given what I write, it enables me to hide, to some degree, some of my personal kinks. Mind, given Jean’s attitude to sex, she might have enjoyed them, if she was alive now…no, not getting into that!

Gable, Lombard, and a few others are seemingly all active on Twitter, but if you asked me my favorite of those types of account, its an actress whose peak was from well before the Harlow era, Lillian Gish. Yes, I know, she lived to 100, did she have some special trick, or…? But seriously, if you’re on Twitter, and you know anything about silent movies, go follow @MsLillianGish there. She is just wonderful! Though Marion Davies (as far as I know, not on Twitter) gets some flak from her, I think its just good banter between the 2, somewhere in the mists of time.

Fine, the video. Really big clue in the blog title!